Following the rocket attacks and subsequent retaliations by Israel, the State Department made a statement during a press briefing Monday condemning all violence across the Gaza strip. State Department spokesperson Ned Price called the recent turn of events “an unacceptable escalation.”
“While we urge de-escalation on all sides, we also recognize Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself, to defend its people and its territory,” Price said.
“More broadly, we’re deeply concerned about the situation in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza strip, including violent confrontations in Jerusalem, particularly in the Haram al Sharif Temple Mount, that has resulted in at least 180 additional injuries, as well as the rocket fired from Gaza, hitting houses in Jerusalem and the threat of further rocket attacks,” Price said.
“The United States will remain fully engaged to promote calm in Jerusalem and we welcome the steps the Israeli government has taken in recent days aimed at avoiding provocations, including the decision to avoid confrontations during the Jerusalem Day commemoration and the delay in the decision regarding the Sheikh Jarrah evictions.”
Just Friday, Price’s office also made a statement on the riots in Jerusalem. Then, the statement read: “There is no excuse for violence, but such bloodshed is especially disturbing now, coming as it does on the last days of Ramadan.”
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Islamic Jihad shows off ‘tunnel city’ for next attack on Israel
Mohammed Raad, the head of the Hezbollah parliamentary bloc in the Lebanese parliament asked for a mere $9 billion to destroy Israel completely. “The resistance only needs $9 billion and there will be nothing left called Israel in the region” he said over the weekend.
Meanwhile, another terrorist organization shows how they too are planning to obliterate the state of Israel. Islamic Jihad gave a media tour in Gaza, where the terror group touted its offensive and defensive tunnel systems.
“In a ‘tunnel city’ under the sandy soils of southern Gaza, Palestinian terrorists are preparing for the next conflict with Israel, as tensions in Jerusalem threaten to escalate” reports the Times of Israel.
The underground tunnels “leave no trace on the surface” and entrances are “discreetly tucked into the foot of a small hill.” The tunnels are also “complete with electric lights, a ventilation system and telecoms cables, the tunnels also have small rooms for storing weapons and ammunition.”
Abu Hamza, Al-Quds Brigade spokesman of Islamic Jihad said “the tunnels have been repaired and the rocket stocks have been replenished” since last year’s war. He also thanked Iran for its support for helping to rebuild and replace its weapons cache.
Another source who asked not to be named, said the terror group has “a large number of offensive tunnels that stretch deep into [Israel] and are linked up to a system of drones.” He also said the group’s rockets are capable of reaching the whole of Israel.
“The rockets are on high alert and we’re waiting for the leadership to decide” said a gunman sitting close to one of the tunnel entrances with a group of gunmen under the trees.
Times of Israel reports on the latest tensions:
Weeks of deadly violence including a series of Palestinian terror attacks in Israel, Palestinian riots and a police crackdown around Jerusalem’s Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa Mosque, and stepped up IDF operations in the West Bank have prompted Islamic Jihad to threaten an escalation.
After two deadly attacks in Tel Aviv and Bnai Brak, the IDF carried out large-scale raids in the West Bank, notably the Jenin area from which the terrorists hailed.
Those operations sparked intense firefights which killed several fighters from Islamic Jihad, which is supported by Israel’s nemesis Iran.
And on Monday evening, a rocket was fired from Gaza into Israel, prompting an Israeli airstrike against a weapons factory.
No faction has yet claimed responsibility, but the incident — the first of its type since January — heightened fears of a further escalation.
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